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Thursday, 10 October 1985
Page: 954


Senator SIDDONS(10.13) —I rise to indicate briefly that the Australian Democrats are prepared to support the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Grants) Amendment Bill 1985. As Senator Durack has said, this is a Bill to withdraw a subsidy that was introduced in 1980 for a period of three years. That time has lapsed. The withdrawal of the subsidy will bring liquefied petroleum gas into line with all other petroleum products and this seems to be quite logical from our point of view. It will, of course, slightly disadvantage some people and unfortunately some of those will be country people. However, the Bill is introduced to withdraw the subsidy during the summer months so there will be quite a period during which adjustment can be made if there is hardship in any specific cases.

The problem with any subsidy is that the day of reckoning always comes. There was a very good reason for introducing the subsidy back in 1980. There was a very sudden rise in costs of LPG and many people had equipped their homes to run on LPG. Suddenly they were caught with very steep increases in running costs. The subsidy has served a very useful purpose, but we think the day has come when that subsidy should be withdrawn. We are prepared to support the Government's initiative in this area.